IOSEFO Verevou's lucky late strike was enough to earn Rewa a winning start in the Fiji Sun/GP Batteries National Football League against a makeshift Tavua team at Lawaqa Park in Sigatoka yesterday.
Tavua, with a host of schoolboys, kept the Delta Tigers scoreless for 82 minutes before a failed clearance in defence allowed Verevou to nail the winner.
The Rewa side was fortunate to get the goal as Verevou's shot took a deflection off a Tavua defender, sending goalkeeper Taito Koroi the wrong way.
Koroi played superbly for Tavua to deny Rewa many chances however was unsighted when Verevou struck with his right boot.
Rewa with big names including Simione Tamanisau making a return at goalkeeper, Lorima Dau, Epeli Saukuru, Kelepi Qaqa and Peniame Drova failed to settle in the heat.
Tavua's energetic youngsters did a lot of running and it was the lack of fitness in the end that robbed them of a draw.
Rewa coach and former national rep Marika Rodu praised the Tavua team for a gallant performance. He said they needed to sharpen their attack
"We missed many scoring opportunities and I think the heat was a big problem for the boys," Rodu said.
Tavua team coach Saroj Kumar said many pundits had predicted Rewa to thrash them.
He said they put on an impressive display despite having three days of training.
Rewa: Simione Tamanisau, Epeli Saukuru, Lorima Dau, Peniame Drova, Akash Sharma, Setareki Hughes, Kelepi Qaqa, Kelvin Singh, Carsten Wise, Iosefo Verevou, Hoteshwar Padarath.
Tavua: Taito Koroi, Savenaca Nasara, Roland Lawrence, Tomasi Uculoa, Ravinesh Chand, Kamenieli Raudovu, Tupeni Maiwalu, Samuela Nabenia, Sitiveni Caucau, Adre Makutu, Sanjay Dutt.